There are simple, , natural strategies you can use as an alternative to the drugs that are usually prescribed for IBS. The drugs treat only the symptoms, and do nothing to address the underlying causes. Treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be tough. It’s characterized by abdominal pain and either constipation, diarrhea, or a combination of both, but its symptoms are different for every person who suffers from it. So, then, is what works to provide relief. Simple changes in your diet and lifestyle can provide relief from irritable bowel syndrome. Although your body may not respond immediately to these changes, goal is to find long-term solutions; Irritable bowel syndrome natural remedies.
Irritable bowel syndrome natural remedies
The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can often be managed by changing your diet and lifestyle, and understanding the nature of the condition. In some cases, medication or psychological treatments may also be helpful.
Eliminate IBS Triggers
Our body is designed to heal and rebalance itself, as long as we stop throwing wrenches into the process by eating the wrong foods or never slowing down. With support, the digestive system can heal itself and become better than new. Support means removing irritating foods for six months to a year, and adding in healing foods, supplements, and restful habits. Also, dealing with toxic emotions can help speed up the healing process and will generally improve your life. You can still have an anxious personality type and a healthy gut. Home-cooking is a million times healthier than eating out. Restaurants use cheap, low quality ingredients and add extra fat, sugar, and salt to hide it. You can eat out occasionally but cooking at home will keep you healthier.
If these simple changes don’t dramatically improve your symptoms, your next line of defense is to identify which foods irritate your system and cut them out of your diet. Among the most common IBS offenders are:
- Dairy products
The best way to identify triggers is to try an elimination diet. The idea of an elimination diet is to eat nonallergenic meals for at least one week to clear your system, and then add in new foods every few days, and observe your reaction to them. A standard elimination diet may consist of:
- A variety of vegetables (except corn)
Only these foods—fresh, not processed—should be eaten for seven days. As you slowly reintroduce other foods, keep a detailed diary to help you pinpoint which ones produce symptoms.
Avoid all sources of gluten
The first step for any patient is to go on a gluten free diet. Most people understand this means avoiding all forms of wheat, but you also need to be aware that there are many other hidden sources of gluten in your diet. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, but it’s also found in other grains such as:
Typically, avoiding gluten for a week or two is enough to see significant improvement. In addition to gluten, food allergies can also play a role so be sensitive to that and start a trial and error process to determine which ones you have.
Get checked for parasites
Another comprehensive strategy, to make sure you’re not struggling with a physical condition that could be simulating IBS, is to have your stool checked for parasites. Some parasites, such as giardia, can sometimes be a contributing factor that needs to be treated.
Changing your diet will play an important part in controlling your symptoms of IBS. However, there is no “one size fits all” diet for people with the condition. The diet that works best for you will depend on your symptoms and how you react to different foods. It may be helpful to keep a food diary and record whether certain foods make your symptoms better or worse. You can then avoid foods that trigger your symptoms. However, it’s important to remember that these foods will not necessarily need to be avoided for life.
Tailor your diet to your personal biochemistry
Naturally, you’ll want to pay close attention to your diet. Ideally, you’ll want to eat according to your nutritional type, as you have specific nutritional needs that are based on your personal biochemistry, metabolism, and genetic makeup. Some people thrive on low-carbohydrate, high-protein and high-fat diets. A typical ratio for a Carb Type might be 40 percent protein and 30 percent each of fats and carbohydrates, but the amounts could easily shift to 50 percent fats and as little as 10 percent carbohydrates depending on individual genetic requirements. Others require the converse: a high carb, low fat and low protein diet.
(it’s important to realize that there is a major difference between vegetable carbs and grain carbs, even though they’re both referenced as “carbs.” Grains convert to sugar, which is not something anyone needs in their diet in high amounts.)
Others fall somewhere in between these Protein and Carbohydrate types and can afford to be less strict with their ratios of carbs, fats and proteins. It’s important to realize that if you don’t eat a diet that is suitable for you, you’re likely to suffer health challenges, and a spastic colon is one possibility.
Part of nutritional typing is also to pay attention to the quality of your food. You’ll want to consume high quality, unprocessed food. Remember, 90 percent of the money Americans spend on food is for processed foods. When you choose foods like this you’re bound to experience physical complications, and it’s no big surprise that one of those complications could be in your gut.
Low carb high protien diet
Most doctors say IBS is incurable, it discourages people from finding natural solutions, good news is that you can heal your gut with a low-carb, high-protein diet, some supplements, and plenty of rest. It takes discipline but it isn’t rocket science, and, most importantly, it works — miraculously! there are certain diet and lifestyle changes that act as Irritable bowel syndrome natural remedies. Your symptoms would begin to subside in the first two weeks and after a year you won’t recognize your own body, this disease is curable, even if it is just a bit tough to figure out.
Experiment with fiber
When you have irritable bowel syndrome, fiber can be a mixed blessing. Although it helps reduce constipation, it can also cause gas and cramping. The best approach is to slowly increase the amount of fiber in your diet over a period of weeks.
People with IBS are often advised to modify the amount of fibre in their diet. There are two main types of fibre: soluble fibre (which dissolves in water) and insoluble fibre (which doesn’t dissolve in water). Foods that contain soluble fibre include:
- fruit – such as bananas and apples
- root vegetables – such as carrots and potatoes
- golden linseeds
Foods that contain insoluble fibre include:
- wholegrain bread
- nuts and seeds (except golden linseeds)
If you have diarrhoea, you may find it helps to cut down on the insoluble fibre you eat. It may also help to avoid the skin, pith and pips from fruit and vegetables. If you have constipation, increasing the amount of soluble fibre in your diet and the amount of water you drink can help.
Getting more fiber, either through food or supplements, does seem to improve some cases of IBS. The new review cites several studies on different types of fiber—including psyllium, wheat bran, and calcium polycarbophil—that had promising results in earlier studies. particularly for patients with constipation-predominant IBS. You need to be a bit more cautious if you have a lot of bloating, gassiness, or diarrhea, since fiber can make these symptoms worse. Foods high in fiber—such as beans, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains—are typically low-calorie and full of vitamins and other nutrients, so try incorporating them into your diet if you can. But if getting all your fiber from food is too difficult, taking a regular supplement can help make up for what’s missing. Fiber doesn’t work for everybody though.
Taking additional fiber can also be very helpful to control IBS symptoms such as constipation and diarrhea. Ideally, shoot for 50 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories consumed. Fiber such as psyllium tends to be particularly helpful, and is my personal favorite. I use it nearly every day. Psyllium is adaptogenic fiber, meaning if you’re constipated it will soften your stool and help increase your bowel frequency, and if you have loose stools and frequent bowel movements, it will help with stool formation and decrease the frequency of bowel movements. If you decide to use psyllium, make sure it is organic as nearly all the products out there are not, and the damage from the pesticide residue in most of the products far outweigh the benefit you would receive from the fiber itself. Metamucil is a classic non-organic psyllium.
Another good fiber is whole, organic flax seed. You can take a few table spoons of freshly ground flax seed per day. Another benefit of flax is that it’s also a high quality source of plant-based omega-3 fats, particularly ALA, which nearly everyone needs on a regular basis.
Boost healthy bacteria in your gut
It’s also important to make sure you have enough healthy bacteria in your gut. You can get healthy bacteria from fermented foods or a high quality supplement. Now, once you lower the amounts of sugar and processed foods in your diet, you’re automatically creating a milieu that will support the growth of good bacteria and diminish growth of bad bacteria. But you can enhance that process further by eating fermented foods or taking a high quality probiotic.
Probiotics are dietary supplements that product manufacturers claim can help improve digestive health. They contain so-called “friendly bacteria” that can supposedly restore the natural balance of your gut bacteria when it has been disrupted. Some people find taking probiotics regularly helps to relieve the symptoms of IBS. However, there is a little evidence to support this, and it is unclear exactly how much of a benefit probiotics offer and which types are most effective. If you want to try a probiotic product, you should take it for at least four weeks to see if your symptoms improve, and you should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding dosage.
Natural Food Probiotics
These live bacteria—found in fermented foods like yogurt and kefir—fared well in the newly published review: The authors noted several randomized clinical trials that suggested probiotic consumption can relieve abdominal pain and other IBS symptoms better than placebo. But the news isn’t all great. For some patients they make all the difference in the world, and others that don’t feel they make much of an impact at all in their symptoms. Doctors are also cautious about recommending probiotics to IBS patients because they do alter the amount and ratio of natural gut bacteria—which, in some cases, could do more harm than good.
Talk to your doctor about the potential risks and benefits, and decide together whether to give probiotics a try. The same goes for synbiotics, which are combination products that contain both pre- and probiotics. There’s not enough evidence to say how well they really relieve IBS symptoms.
Eating natural prebiotics in foods like garlic, onions, bananas, and raw asparagus, can be a win-win. With prebiotics, patients aren’t consuming live bacteria, it’s more of an indirect way of trying to manipulate your microflora, They’re certainly reasonable to try, but there’s not a lot of background to form conclusions either way.
Probiotics are getting more popular for digestive healing, but popping a daily probiotic supplement is not the full answer. Choosing a high-quality supplement is important, but adding probiotic food and drinks such as kombucha, kefir, plain yogurt, sauerkraut, or miso is very helpful. And you can increase the effect of probiotics by reducing or cutting out sugar.
Having diarrhea can drain away good bacteria that help prevent harmful bacteria from growing out of control. When you’re having IBS-related diarrhea, eat plenty of yogurt containing active bacteria, such as acidophilus. Or take supplements of acidophilus. The usual daily dosage is one pill containing 1 to 2 billion live organisms. Take it on an empty stomach. Between yogurt and probiotics better option is the use of both probiotics and yogurt.
Drink peppermint tea
Of all the herbal remedies studied in the new review, peppermint oil seemed to have the most promising results, with clinical trials dating back to 1972. It is recommended to patients particularly with a lot of IBS-related pain. Peppermint oil is thought to be a natural anti-spasmodic, and it seems to be beneficial—maybe not for constipation or diarrhea, but specifically for those who do have a lot of pain. Every day, drink a cup or two of peppermint tea, which relaxes your intestines, reduces spasms, and relieves gas pain. Make sure to buy the kind that contains real peppermint, rather than black tea with peppermint flavoring. Alternatively, you can take enteric-coated peppermint-oil capsules. The coating ensures that the oil reaches the intestine instead of breaking down in the stomach. Take one or two capsules three times a day, between meals.
Did you also know that peppermint oil can calm muscle spasms in the gut, while tarragon, fennel, caraway, coriander and anise can together soothe stomachaches and reduce bloating? Essential oils are capable of so much, and their amazing healing properties in relation to IBS are no exception.
Drink ginger tea
Ginger soothes all manner of digestive problems, including IBS. For the freshest tea, grate a half-teaspoon of ginger into a cup, then pour in hot water, let it steep for 10 minutes, strain out the ginger, and drink the tea. Ginger tea bags are also available. Drink four to six cups a day.
If you are 35 or older, consider taking supplemental digestive enzymes. Since aging tends to diminish our digestive enzymes, taking a them as a supplement helps the body break down foods into compounds that make nutrients easier to digest, and also work to decrease the number of colonized microorganisms in the stomach. Other digestive aids include hydrochloric acid supplements, which act as a tonic to the upper GI tract, soothing inflammation and allowing for restoration of normal function and cellular health. (Note: As always, it is important to consult a qualified expert to determine which supplements are appropriate for you, and to provide oversight for your health and safety.) Zinc, Magnesium, Probiotics, Fiber, Fish Oil, Enzymes, Glutamine, Vitamin A can be found in my store
Artichoke leaf extract
A growing body of evidence suggests that artichoke leaf extract is a valuable therapy in IBS treatments. After a six-week study, researchers in the United Kingdom reported that IBS patients taking artichoke leaf extract had significant reductions in the severity of their symptoms. Furthermore, 96 percent of the patients rated artichoke leaf extract as “better than or equal to” previous therapies they had tried. The suggested dose is 600–1,800 mg daily, in divided doses with meals.
Since stress is one of the factors known to trigger an IBS flare-up, its important to reduce stress. While stress relief may not come in a bottle, it’s one of the most important natural remedies to consider when dealing with IBS. Sometimes stress worsens symptoms and sometimes symptoms worsen stress, but the combination of the two is very important. You can’t always modify your stressors, but you can modify your response to that stress—and working on that is so important. Explore different options for stress reduction and find what works best. For some people it’s yoga, exercise, or meditation, and sometimes it’s simply a matter of mindfulness and reflection, and making a conscious effort to try not to worsen the stress that’s already there.
Many people find that exercise helps to relieve the symptoms of IBS. Your GP can advise you on the type of exercise that is suitable for you. Aim to do a minimum of 50 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as cycling or fast walking, every week. The exercise should be strenuous enough to increase your heart and breathing rates.
Reducing your stress levels may also reduce the frequency and severity of your IBS symptoms. Some ways to help relieve stress include:
- relaxation techniques – such as meditation or breathing exercises
- physical activities – such as yoga, pilates or tai chi
- regular exercise – such as walking, running or swimming
If you are particularly stressed, you may benefit from a talking therapy, such as stress counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
Manage your stress with yoga and breathing
Since stress is one of the factors known to trigger an IBS flare-up, learn to short-circuit it with meditation, yoga, or a simple breathing exercise like this one. Sit comfortably, or lie down. Turn your attention to the air going in and out of your body. When upsetting or anxiety-producing thoughts intrude, focus completely on your breathing. Practice this daily. Then, whenever you feel yourself becoming tense and anxious, use it to calm yourself.
Alter stress response
Avoiding stress is almost impossible but learning to balance the negative effects of stress is much easier. Getting enough sleep and taking at least 15 or 20 minutes out of your day to quiet and restore your body can balance the effects of stress.
Note: Watching TV does not count as rest. Restorative rest means unplugging from the world (as in doing nothing productive).
One thing that can help everyone: Reducing or eliminating simple carbohydrates like sugar, white bread, pasta, fruit juice, dried fruit, and alcohol.
Rest to reduce stress
Reduce simple carbs and sugar to reduce stress
Amino Acids to the Rescue
If anxiety is contributing to your IBS symptoms, give gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) a try. This amino acid binds to receptor sites in the brain, blocking “excitatory” neurotransmitters and keeping you on an even keel. GABA is safe, nontoxic, and nonhabitforming. For quick relief during an acute IBS episode, open a capsule and stir it into water. For chronic anxiety, take 750 mg 1–3 times per day as needed. Because amino acids are best absorbed on an empty stomach, you should take them 30 minutes before or two hours after meals.
You should also consider glutamine. The most prevalent amino acid in the body, glutamine is renowned for its healing properties in the gut. It aids in the production of enterocytes—cells that line the intestinal tract and play a key role in controlling the absorption of nutrients and prohibiting improperly digested proteins from entering the bloodstream. The recommended dose is 2–3 g daily. The proper functioning of your digestive system has an awful lot to do with what you put in your mouth, what happens to it before it reaches the large intestine, and whether you have the appropriate balance of bacteria in your large intestine.
Here are some simple and practical suggestions on how you can consistently support your body’s normal bowel function and bacterial balance in a safe and natural way
- Be picky about what you eat and drink. Avoid sodas and other sugary treats, caffeine, alcohol and fried or processed foods, all of which impede digestion. Try to eat more whole foods, healthy fats (e.g., found in salmon, olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds) and complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains and steamed veggies.
- Monitor food combinations, as these directly influence how quickly and efficiently food is digested. For example, don’t combine “white” foods (such as white sugar, white flour, white bread, white potatoes, etc.) with saturated fats (for example, red meat or dairy products). Taken together, these can require as long as two to three hours to digest, during which time microorganisms in the food can colonize the stomach lining and cause digestive disturbances.
- Keep fluids with meals to a minimum, and chew food thoroughly. The natural process by which saliva is added to food as it is chewed, to break it down thoroughly in the mouth, sets the rest of the digestive process in motion. So, our habit of washing down food with water or other beverages turns out to be counter-productive. Fluids may also dilute stomach acid, making digestion less efficient.
Low FODMAP diet
If you experience persistent or frequent bloating, a special diet called the low FODMAP diet can be effective. FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. These are types of carbohydrates that aren’t easily broken down and absorbed by the gut. This means they start to ferment in the gut relatively quickly, and the gases released during this process can lead to bloating. A low FODMAP diet essentially involves restricting your intake of various foods that are high in FODMAPs, such as some fruits and vegetables, animal milk, wheat products and beans. If you want to try the low FODMAP diet, it’s best to do so under the guidance of a professional dietitian, who can ensure your diet is still healthy and balanced. You can ask your GP or specialist to refer you. You can read more about the low FODMAP diet on the Kings College London website.
General eating tips
Your IBS symptoms may also improve by:
- having regular meals and taking your time when eating
- not missing meals or leaving long gaps between eating
- drinking at least eight cups of fluid a day – particularly water and other non-caffeinated drinks, such as herbal tea
- restricting your tea and coffee intake to a maximum of three cups a day
- reducing the amount of alcohol and fizzy drinks you drink
- reducing your intake of resistant starch (starch that resists digestion in the small intestine and reaches the large intestine intact), which is often found in processed or re-cooked foods
- limiting fresh fruit to three portions a day – a suitable portion would be half a grapefruit or an apple
- if you have diarrhoea, avoiding sorbitol, an artificial sweetener found in sugar-free sweets, including chewing gum and drinks, and in some diabetic and slimming products
- if you have wind (flatulence) and bloating, it may help to eat oats (such as oat-based breakfast cereal or porridge) and linseeds (up to one tablespoon a day)
- If you’re lactose intolerant, try substituting yogurt for milk. Or use an enzyme product to help break down lactose. Consuming small amounts of milk products or combining them with other foods also may help. In some cases, though, you may need to stop eating dairy foods completely. If so, be sure to get enough protein, calcium and B vitamins from other sources.
- Try to drink plenty of fluids every day. Water is best. Alcohol and beverages that contain caffeine stimulate your intestines and can make diarrhea worse, and carbonated drinks can produce gas.
Go easy on your intestines
- Minimize fried foods, meats, oils, margarine, dairy foods, and other fatty foods. They cause your colon to contract violently, which can lead to diarrhea and abdominal pain.
- ‘Stay away from spicy foods. The capsaicin in hot peppers, for example, makes your large intestine go into spasms, which can cause diarrhea.
- Cut down on caffeine. It can worsen IBS by irritating your intestines.
- Avoid foods known to cause flatulence, including cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli.
- Don’t chew gum or candy that contains artificial sweeteners. Among the common sweeteners in these products are sorbitol and mannitol, which can have a laxative effect. They’re very difficult to digest. When bacteria in your colon eventually break down these ‘nonabsorbed sugars,’ you get gas and diarrhea.
- Stop smoking. Nicotine contributes to IBS flare-ups. Also, when you smoke, you swallow air, and people with IBS are very sensitive to having air in their gut.